“the older, traditional ideas of private, isolated thoughts and actions - the patterns of mechanistic technologies - are very seriously threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information retrieval, by the electrically computerized dossier bank - that one big gossip column that is unforgiving, unforgettable and from which there is no redemption, no erasure of early ‘mistakes.’
Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage, 1967.
In examining the mechanism of stress and anxiety, the “NEW AESTHETES” is a series of 3 figures as visual representations of contemporary internet culture and the forced necessity of borderline obsessive participation. Over the top novelty, recognizible pop culture references and tactile detail are devices of visual seduction, where what appear to be hooded shamans of the “new aesthetic,” swarthed inhooded draped black cloaks, boasting luxurious necklaces, are actually
replicate figures of Abu Ghraib captives. The necklaces, detailed, dripping, full of figurines, directly highlight the danger of novelty within contemporary culture. These ominous figures - although stately and beautiful - mark a dangerous point foretold by the work of both Marshall McLuhan in The Medium is the Message and Guy du Bord’s Society of the Spectacle, noting that the integration of technology into daily life has turned contemporary culture into a “theater of the absurd.” Information is exchanged and modified so fast by so many without regard nor awareness of the ramifications. In essence, the use of novelty and extreme speed of cultual change becomes the swinging pendulum itself; when we are unaware, distracted or completely engulfed by visual culture and novelty, we can see nothing beyond our own hunger for cultural turn over.